Polycom CEO Robert Hagerty talks telepresence

Polycom's CEO talks about the long-awaited arrival of 'spooky-good' videoconferencing and the next big thing: videoconferencing on handhelds.

Robert Hagerty, CEO of Polycom

Robert Hagerty, CEO of Polycom

So, what is the videoconferencing ROI?

The ROI varies depending on the travel a company does, but from the reduced carbon footprint and dollars saved on travel, the return on investment is six months. Our team found the ROI was 265 percent in the first year.

People seem to do any kind of meeting in telepresence, but are there some things you would never do, like fire somebody over telepresence?

We do performance reviews over videoconference, and people love it. That's performance reviews, not layoffs.

How does 2009 look for your company and the videoconferencing industry?

We'll see double-digit growth in video revenues, but not at the level of 2008. It's a growth year, and we expect the voice division to pull through. The analysts haven't really finished their 2009 forecasts.

How much of a threat is Cisco, given how it seems to enter markets and conquer them?

We still have the largest number of installed units in videoconferencing deployed, about 650,000 globally. The noise Cisco is making is a net gain for our industry. We welcome competition, but we think we outplay them.

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